Jenna Dewan gets 'Physical' in new Lifetime movie

After attaining stardom through both drama and dance, Jenna Dewan continues to find projects that combine them.

The actress, who made a name for herself in the first "Step Up" movie, shows her stuff in both realms in "Let's Get Physical," a fact-inspired drama Lifetime debuts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. Also an executive producer of the film (along with spouses Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos), Dewan stars as a fitness and dance instructor who leads a double life as a madam.

When her prostitution ring is revealed, others in her community wonder - and, in some cases, worry - if her clients include prominent locals. Jennifer Irwin ("The Goldbergs") and Michael Consuelos (Mark and Kelly's son) also appear.

"My production company made a multipicture deal with Lifetime," Dewan explains, "and I was approached by Mark and Kelly about this project, which they'd had for a while. I adore them, so I was really intrigued to read this. And when I did, I thought it was really fun, but it also made me ask a lot of questions about my own judgments. This town was uprooted by the energy of this woman, and I wanted to partner with Mark and Kelly, so it all came together."

The result, Dewan believes, fits the definition of "a Lifetime movie" perfectly: "I grew up on those. My mom and I would watch all of them, and I especially love a couple of the elements. I want a bit of escapism, but also the female side of the story that I might not have thought of before.

"Also, you want to leave with that 'I can't believe that was a true story' feeling. I worked with Lifetime on (the series) 'Witches of East End,' and they are so wonderfully supportive of women ... and of women branching out into other areas. Producing is something I've wanted to do for years."

Pole-dancing lessons were necessary for "Let's Get Physical" for Dewan, who notes, "I've done just about every type of dance, and I wanted to attempt this - and let me tell you, it was really hard. It uses muscles you usually don't have to, and I had only two days to learn it."

Dewan has been getting plenty of other television opportunities, including her involvement in CBS' "Come Dance With Me" (and, before that, NBC's "World of Dance") and roles on ABC's "The Rookie" and The CW's "Superman & Lois."

"Every job has been so different and fun lately," she reflects, "and there is a bit of a thread. There's always a tiny through line of dance, and I love that. It's like a tongue-in-cheek thing now: 'OK, how can we get Jenna dancing?'"

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